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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  March 2, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EST

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today is filled with just wins. all we do is put wins in the record books. we win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it's scary. please don't let it be chris christie. >> the only person that could say that is crazy charlie sheen. >> that's crazy. those two quotes are so similar, except for the underwear part. you did do better than me. nice job. >> thanks for watching, everybody. "hardball" is an excellent program and it starts right now. false witness. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm crist matthews out in los angeles.
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leading off tonight, the huckster. when mike huckabee's spokesman says he didn't mean to say that the president obama grew up in kenya, he meant to say he grew up in indonesi nee in indonesia swallow. first of all, both assertions are wrong. he went to the best prep school in hawaii. the brits were in kenya, and the mao mao revolution, that also occurred in kenya. he joined the long list of discredited republicans spreading the story that president obama's presidency is illegitimate. that's our top story. speaking of evading the truth. bob woodward just described donald rumsfeld's memoir to destroy history and simply avoid discussing matters that cannot be air brushed away. plus reps may want to think twice about good after unions or
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going after social security medicare. our brand-new poll out tonight has the latest where americans are and aren't willing to seek cuts. and who's it going to be? newt? mitt? haley? with republicans hesitating to get into the race, we wondered who would president obama fear if anyone? we'll tell you the scoreboard and the players off field. how many times does new jersey governor chris christie have to say he's not interested in running for president before we start thinking, hey, he really wants to be asked. we begin unfortunately with the lie that won't die. the bureau chief for mother jones and joan walsh with salon.com. well, here's former governor mike huckabee on a radio program run by steve maltsberg. let's hear what he said on monday. >> don't you think it's fair also to ask him -- i know your stance on this -- how come we don't have a health record? we don't have a college record,
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we don't have a birth cer -- why, mr. obama, did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate? it's one thing to say, you've seen it, goodbye. but why go to court to send lawyers to defend against having to show it. don't you think we deserve to know more about this man? >> i would love to know more, but what i know is troubling enough. one thing i do know is his having grown up in kenya, his slew of the brits, for example, very different than the average american. >> david, is he lying? a buffoon? or what? where do you come up with a guy who was a former governor of a state, who's been in national politics for a number of years now, can read the newspaper as well as the rest of us, knows that barack obama grew up in hawaii. he went to the best prep school out there in honolulu. went to ox accidental, went to columbia, harvard law. ran for a number of offices.
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here he is sucking up to a guy we don't know anything about the guy's health records, birth certificate. he's playing to the birthers that the president of the united states is some kind of imposter. why is huckabee playing this game? >> you know, he is in the middle of the transmission belt of trash. fox news is ground zero of that. he has a show there. all this stuff about barack obama not just being born in kenya, but being influenced by his father, who he didn't know, into believing, you know, as a good kenyan would, that the brits are terrible. i mean, this is all coming from "forbes" magazine a few months ago. newt gingrich was talking it up on fox news. i think mike huckabee is immersed in those trashy, dirty waters, and he's just absorbing, maybe by osmosis. i'll give him a plug here. i was reading his book, mike
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huckabee "a simple government" and he said he's not going to be involved in personal attacks on the president and the key thing we need to show is integrity. he is not showing any of that. he's lying about the fact that he didn't say what he meant to say. >> we know what he said and why he said it. joan, i always thought that everybody in the media that spent a lot of time with huckabee, and i've had good experiences with him, i thought he was a good guy basically even if he's sort of a man of the evangelical right. here he is smearing somebody. engaging in what we call in our religion false witness, suggesting he's some sort of mau mau guy, he never spent a day of his youth in kenya, a day. and he's made this whole story up. here h eis, by the way. this isn't he misspoke, well, i meant to be say this and i said that. i meant to say indonesia and i accidentally said kenya.
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here he is in full boar on the steve malzberg show. here he is talking about a bust of the winston churchill. it's a whole number he has here. >> right. >> when he gave the bust back to -- >> the bust of winston churchill, yeah. >> a great insult to the british. but if you think about it, his perspective, growing up in kenya with a kenyan father and grandfather, their few of the mau mau revelation in kenya is very different their ours, because he probably grew up hearing that the british were a -- >> he despises the west and the brits and i think that's why he despises israel. >> i don't have time for malzberg. i don't even know who he is. you can shake your head. i've given up. he isn't rooting for the mau maus. he wasn't a headhunter offer any of the crap they're trying to sell. huckabee, a man with some education playing the game.
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it's one thing to be a rube. it's another to pretend to be a rube and to play to the rubes. it's hard to buy. >> he definitely trying to act like he is the good guy, the smurfy republican. he defended michelle obama last week when sarah palin was attacking the healthy eating crusade. this is dirty stuff. like david says, he swims in the polluted waters of all of this right wing paranoia about the president. just to take one thing out of that. we did not give the bust of winston churchill back. he moved it to the residence and put lincoln in its place. now, can you imagine if he kicked out lincoln to put in a european leader, they would be attacking him for that. so that's one thing. >> i guess he would have put, following this narrative, he would have put kenyatta there. as an african liberation leader, but i of course is a liberal and there's something wrong with that, too.
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>> can't we say we're all anti-cloanti anti-colonialists now? >> apparently not. >> i thought we were. the premise of this is frightening. he's saying that somehow because he does have some sort of an ancestral notion that colonialism is wrong -- when i was in the peace corps, i didn't think that colonialism was entirely bad, but it was illegal to run in and take over the place. that's bad, isn't it? >> here's the code. after he said what he said, we heard the clip. the radio guy goes on to say, obama despises the west. that's what this is about. they don't care what he thinks about kenya and freedom and independence in africa. he despise it is israel and the west. what does mike huckabee say to that? absolutely nothing. this is all about reaffirming this notion that he's not one of us. not only is he not one of us, he hates us and wants to do evil, harm to the west.
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>> wants to hurt us. right. >> and for mike huckabee not to call this guy out shows just how low he's gone in terms of pandering to the far right. well, there's the question, i have to say it. i want to get back to the roots of it, because it is about roots. ty'm only two generations in. my mother grandmother and grandfather from the british isles. not that exotic, but most of the people i know have parents and grandparents from another country. we're a land of immigrants, but we don't go back and say i know where you're coming from, your grandfather is from russia and therefore you don't like this or that. we sort of let people be themselves. the true american exceptionalism, i don't give a damn who your grandfather is, i want to know if you can play the game, i want to know if you can deliver, i want to know if you can become my doctor.
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>> or you can become president. >> we don't care if your grandfather rooted for the mau maus. but here's this guy, malzberg. i don't even want to talk about him. this guy huckabee, he's leading the republican polls right now. >> i know. >> he's not in character offstage we're beating up here tonight. he may well be the republican nominee, and he goats talking about this in the world -- there he is. 25%. joan? >> the other thing that's so amazing and i'm sorry, does feel racial about this, nobody ever talks about barack obama's white grandparents or his mother. >> oh, you mean the guy who fought for paton. >> right. the world war ii hero, or how about his grandmother, who was a bank executive. nobody talks about how those values influence barack obama. nobody talks about his white mother who in fact is probably more influential than his father. she raised him.
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she was an anthropologist. she had a great global view of the world. we don't even talk about her -- that would remind us all that he has roots in kansas. >> i would say damn this point of view. what is he supposed to do? you come to this country, she married somebody from africa, his mother. the kid goes to high school, does great. he gets into thinks great schools like occidental and columbia. he doesn't go out and make a billion dollars, he helps the poor people in chicago, he goes into public life. he loves america, believes in democracy, what government can do for people. he's done every single thing. he's kept his nose clean, and yet they trounce him. they go after him with a vengeance because he looks different. he has a different name. isn't that an ethnic attack? isn't that what it's really about, david? >> theres no other presidential candidate who's ever gotten this type of illegitimate scrutiny.
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>> scrutiny? false witness. >> insulting. i mean, there were critics of george bush and dick cheney who came up with all sorts of conspiracy theories. presidents come under harsh attacks, but none that they're somebody really different who they are, that they're manchurian candidates, the color of their skin is dictating their beliefs. that they're genetically predisposed to hate the west. that's the argument here. >> okay. we've got to stop. you know why? we all grew up in a school yard that made fun of kids who were different. we always put up with them. some grew up and got better when we got older. now we have a guy talking like one of those kids in a school yard leading the republican pack for the nomination. it's scary, and i hope the rest of the world is not paying attention to mike huckabee. david corn, great to have you on. joan walsh, you have good hearts.
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this isn't about ideology. it's about bearing false witness. it's in the bible. check it out, huckabee. coming up, how is this review of donald rumsfeld memoir from none ore than bob woodward playing? he calls it one big cleanup job. woodward going after rumsfeld. rumsfeld, by the way, wait until you catch this guy. and now he's slip sliding away. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. and a healthy level of sodium. it's amazing what soup can do. somewhere in america, a city comes to life. it moves effortlessly, breathes easily. it flows with clean water. it makes its skyline greener and its population healthier. all to become the kind of city people want to live and work in. somewhere in america, we've already answered some of the nation's toughest questions. and the over sixty thousand people of siemens
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welcome back to "hardball." a number of journalists are takingish with donald rumsfeld's statements. they say he's rewriting history on the iraq war and trying to cleanse the record of hits role in that war. i think i agree with them. for a closer look on how his words square or don't square with the facts, let's turn to two top journalists who investigated the bush administration's run-up to the iraq war. nbc news national investigative reporter michael isikoff. gentlemen, i have respect for both of you. what is rumsfeld trying to skirt away from here in these meetings we're describing here? we'll just go at it generally first of all. ron, you first. >> rumsfeld is trying to back away from the real story of the iraq war, much of which has been
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reported, but it was essentially lied about in present tense by the bush administration. that it was planneds from january 2001. it was all about a way to get into war with iraq, set up a pro american country in the arab world. rumsfeld is trying to dodge and duck that, but it's interesting, in this book there are also a few things where rumsfeld is trying to get in the right spot for the final record in terms of what he knows history will say. >> he's got a big problem already. mike isikoff, rumsfeld writes in the meeting of september 26th, he asked that i take a look at the shape of our military plans in iraq. now, that doesn't square with the previous claim by rumsfeld that the president didn't get involved in war plan until a couple months later. why is rumsfeld moving around the dates? what is he up to here? >> it's clear he's trying to put
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as much of the on us on bush for pushing for the iraq war, where the record is pretty clear. rumsfeld and paul wolfowitz, his deputy at the defense department were pushing for action against iraq from the get-go, right after 9/11. in fact, even before 9/11 they wanted to figure out a way to topple saddam hussein. and they continued to push for it right through the invasion itself. the idea -- the only reason for rumsfeld to emphasize this is to try to say, well, the president was -- this was the president's idea, to try to subtly suggest it was the president's idea. we certainly know bush was behind it 100%. we know the day after 9/11, he went to dick clark and said find the evidence that saddam was behind it. but he was being egged on every step of the way by donald
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rumsfeld and paul wolfowitz. >> the reason i was skeptical of this war from day one was they kept coming up for new reasons with it. they didn't have good reasons. he may have wmd, what we mean is he may have nuclear. but we're not willing to say nuclear. we may have something to do with 9/11, but we don't know. shoulda, woulda, coulda. and the secretary, he wrote a report on september 5th, 2002, the year before the war that states, quote, we do not know if they have purchased or attempted to purchase a nuclear weapon. our knowledge of the iraqi nuclear weapons program is based largely, 90%, on the analysis of imprecise. then he wrote, please take a look at this material on attempts to purchase wmds.
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it is big. in his book, ron, admitting no nuclear in the country, no is nuclear attempts to purchase, nothing, nada, nada, and admitting he knew it. he knew there wasn't anything to it, and never raised his hand and said this is all bs. to me that's an amazing admission. >> the bush administration knew from the start the american public would never support the war they wanted to fight in iraq. they knew that. so all through this period they're fabricating as fast as they can any connection they could find. rumsfeld is now, present tense, he was right there saying we have all sorts of evidence ready to go. now he's saying actually we didn't have anything. that goes directly against what was said at the time, and goes right to the basket charge against the bush administration. they took the country to war under false pretenses. that's a huge charge historically and one that
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rumsfeld is trying to back away from now. we don't have much time, but here's the thing about rumsfeld and the connection to al qaeda. quote, though intelligence did not report that saddam was tightly connected to al qaeda or that he was involved in the 9/11 attack, iraq was included in almost any analyalysis of state-supported terrorism. well, we knew iraq was involved, but they are tying to al qaeda. and 9/11. >> so were the saudis and ore countries in the middle east that we didn't invade. rumsfeld on september 27th, 2002 in the run-up to the congressional vote said we had bulletproof evidence -- those were his words -- bulletproof evidence of ties between saddam and al qaeda. he does not repeat that line in his book. he does not refer to the fact that he said that. instead he's now saying we didn't really have strong intelligence on it.
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direct contradiction between what he was saying publicly then and what he is acknowledging now in his book. he doesn't even concede that there is such a stark contradiction. >> here's the latest one in the book. it's all part of the analysis that we're doing. when everybody thought we had a good shot at catching bin laden, which was the whole purpose going in, by the way, was to catch this guy and fry him, basically, for his hand in orchestrating the attack on us in 9/11. that's what the war was about, we keep forgetting. here's rumsfeld writing, quote, though a number of people including some at the cia expected he might have taken refuge in the tora bora area. no one knew that for certain. here we are with the shell game. we didn't really know, we didn't really know. but at the time they sold us, they knew everything. >> look, late november, before bin laden escapes in the december of 2001, bush was briefed in the oval office by the cia. they said he's in tora bora,
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unless we move now, he will slip away. and the president ultimately flinched. that's what rumsfeld knows. ultimately at the end of the day, this community, this bush administration lied in ways that people in power have not. that's what makes these guys different and rumsfeld right now is trying to paper over as much as he can as fast as he can. >> mike, you're my colleague now, and i really respect you. you think there's any chance in the next five years we'll get something like a full set of hearings, pentagon papers that really goes back and puts these guys under oath. all these guys, that they were involved and make them swear under oath why we went to war in iraq, just so we'll know the history of this war. >> the short answer is no. the only opportunity, the only chance for anything like that would have been right after the democrats won control of the congress in 2006. they could have done it in early
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2007. they chose not to. the opportunity for that was basically lost. i just want to say one thing on the tora bora section, because i actually found that probably the single most stunning passage in rumsfe rumsfeld's book. he talks about, well, we didn't really know bin laden was in tora bora, it was only speculated on. when you read peter bergen's excellent summary of that whole passage in his book, he makes it absolutely clear that it was virtual 100% certainty that bin laden was there. the nsa intercepted conversations from bin laden. people on the ground were pleading with tommy franks to bring in troops, to prevent him from escaping. why didn't they do that? because at that very moment, franks was working with rumsfeld on updating the war plan for invading iraq. >> this is one time i wish this president we just had, bush, had kept white house tapes. don't you wish we had white house tapes of all those meetings? we could just listen to the
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little conniving. anyway, maybe they don't even tell the truth to each other. i'm still stunned that rummy told me over the pentagon years ago that he was never asked if we could go to war in iraq. to me that's stunning. what kind of conversations they had, the defense chief, he controls the nuclear football, why we never had a conversation, should we or should we not invade? we now know he knew there were no nuclear weapons there. so we know the guy the president should have asked knew there was no reason for the war they were giving to the public, that condee was full of it, that colin powell was given a bunch of crap to sell, that all that stuff was being sold at the time, that knowing all you know, do we have a case for war? it would have been nice to get that on the record. thank you, mike and ron. you're great. up next, we've heard chris christie has the hot hand in the republican party. he keeps saying he's not going to run.
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and then he keeps getting asked again and again. you have to wonder about this guy's seductive powers. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ♪ [ male announcer ] when the food we eat has nutritional gaps... so do we. but with more key nutrients than one-a-day essential, centrum fills those gaps better.
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back to "hardball." first up, new jersey governor chris christie says he's not running for president and he can't stop talking about it. the governor just told the "national review" i have people calling me saying let me explain how you can win. and i'm like, you're barking up the wrong tree. i know i can win. that's not the issue. i know i can win, wow. let's recap the many colorful ways he's insisted he's not running. ready, set, go. >> i am arrogant enough to believe that after one year as governor of new jersey and seven years as a united states attorney that i'm ready to be president of the united states.
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in your heart you have to want it more than anything else. nor than anything else. here's the thing. why would i want to have a less powerful job than the one i have now? to be governor of new jersey -- short of suicide, i don't know what i would have to do to convince you people that i'm not running. my wife will kill me. we'll be married 25 years in two weeks and there's certainly things you're kind of locked in after 25 years, and certainly things you know will not be accepted. i think that's on the list. >> he has what the others don't, pizzazz. next, wisconsin legislatures take on a pressing issue -- prank calls. two republican state senators have just introduced a bill to criminalize telephone calls t st fraudulently hides a person's identity. t and the dumb thing is, they insist it has nothing to do with
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last week's taped telephone call to governor walker from someone posing as david koch, an incident that ended up being very embarrassing. the proposed punishment, by the way for the prank calls, $10,000. that's pretty steep if you ask me, $10,000 for a prank call. finally a priceless news lead, a former seaman who discussed his neighbors with loud foul-mouthed rants at politicians on television have been banned from having a television or radio in his home. whatever happened to yelling out the window "i'm sick and tired and not going to take it anymore." >> haley barbour said people said we should cut medicaid. his reasoning? quote, we have people pull up to a pharmacy window in a bmw and say they can't afford their co-payment. >> it sounded a bit off to "the
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washington post," too. their fact checkers just raided it is claim by barbour, their verdict, four pin knock i don'ts, the highest rating, the cost of lowers end bmws is apparently four times what a family on medicaid could earn in an entire year. barbour's tall tale earned four pinnoch pinnochios. tonight's big number. up next, a new poll has come out. big warnings for republicans looking to cut spending. look at this. it's very practical. it won't surprise you a lot, but will really clarify the air when we're talking about all these cuts. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. with aarp we can fly out to see family. and we can cook out more with friends.
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a gunman whop attacked a bus full of u.s. gunmen in germany today killing two and wounding two more has been identified as a 21-year-old muslim. police aren't ready to call this an act of terrorism. they say there may have been an argument on the bus before the
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attack. the army has filed 22 charges against bradley manning for the wikileaks scandal. one charge carries a death sentence. in ohio, a republican-backed bill restricting collective bargaining rights for public workers . and serena williams is recovering after a serious health scare involving a blood clot in her lungs. and now back to "hardball." >> it's time for our nbc/wall street journal gut check. welcome back to "hardball." all eyes are on wisconsin and
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washington to see what can be done about the mounting deficits. a new poll out tonight finds 3 out of 4 people say they know what's going on in wisconsin, the same number 3 out of 4 say that public employee unions should have the same bargaining rights, but when it comes to what people consider acceptable steps that state officials could take to deal with deficits, the poll had tough medicine for the state employees themselves. catch these numbers. 68% think states should require public employees to contribute more of their pay for their retirement. 63% say they should pay more as co-pays for health insurance. 58% say states should freeze the salaries out there for a year. but just 1 in 3 think there shouldn't be collective bargaining at all. for more on the new numbers we're joined by political director chief white house correspondent chuck todd.
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are you surprised? this seems to be the way that all polls is going. our poll confirms that people want everybody to pay their shares, that they think that employees have been getting it too easy, but they have a right to complain and collectively bargain. >> americans are always uncomfortable taking away a right. they sometimes it takes them a long time to come around to giving a new right to somebody, but boy are they hating the idea of taking away a right. that's what you're seeing here. the message is we're not happy with labor unions as a set of organizations right now, but with the idea behind labor unions we're in favor of, right? and that they seem to have created that split. that's an appreciation, for instance, that i think scott walker is not seeing, and it could politically be very -- a very bad thing for him and all republicans. in the midwest in particular it
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was 84% of mid westerners are following this store very closely. >> let me be brutally tough here. you can't give a person a right that they're not going to you'd lies, and if you -- that's what collective bargaining actually means. do the voters have in their mind the common sense if give the right to complain, it's going to cost money as taxpayers. do they get the close reality of that thing? >> that's hard to decipher? or don't they get it? >> i think they do get it. the fact is they believe in 90% of for instance what scott walker is trying to do, guess what? times are tough, you've got to contribute more to your pension. that gets to the fairness aspect of americans, right? at the end of the day we're always looking for the fairest solution possible in our own
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minds, but don't take away a right. that's the bridge too far. i'm just -- when you see the fact that the respondents drew that distinction, i think that's pretty -- here was the other thing, we asked favorable and unfavorable, teachers versus teacher unions. public unions versus private unions. there's a polarization, an ideological split on unions, but on the idea of collectively bargaining there is no split. there really wasn't a partisan split on this. that just tells you that americans don't believe in taking away a right. >> they like teachers but not teachers' unions? >> they didn't mind teachers union, but teachers by a 23-point margin they had a hirer rating nan teachers unions.
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not surprising. since everybody is beating up on teachers unions from chris christie to barack obama. >> let's look at the budget fight in washington. our poll finds that the public is much more concerned that republicans and tea partyists may go too far. that doesn't surprise me a bit obviously republicans are more conservative, bigger cutters. that's pretty common sense right there. isn't it? >> it is. the bigger problems for republicans in this poll is their base says the number one or two issue in this country, core republicans say the top issue in this country is spending and the deficit. the rest of america, independents, democrats, are saying the top issue is jobs and the economy. and the problem republicans have is are they backing themselves into a corner? are they listening to their base, talking about spending and budgets. chris, it's almost as if the white house is reading polls, and the rep congressional leadership isn't.
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that might make them field good, but as our pollster said, there's a flashing yellow sign in this poll for them as they continue to go down this road. >> when people were asked what to do about the deficit, 37% said cut big programs, these are like the final things they're willing to go for. if it really gets tough. obviously you want to cut the fast and waste, but then you ask them what do you want to do after you've done that, they say basically if i have to go after social security or taxes, they say go after social security. but when you specifically ask them about medicare and social security, they say hands off, 80%. people don't want to make these decisions, do they? >> there are no popular solution. i'll give you one that actually wasn't. the most acceptable idea -- the most acceptable idea was a surtax on millionaires at 81%. there's no chance that any
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member of the republican party elected in congress right now would vote for a proposal that did that, even though it has an 81% acceptable rating. that's sort of the chuck schumer idea. >> that's why we have a republic form of the government, not an actual democratic form of government. in the end, who wants to cut their own social security? who wants to raise their own taxes? nobody wants to do that. anyway, thank you, chuck todd. i'm darn serious, these choices are brutal. up next, newt looks like he's in. mitt looks like he's coming in and sarah is up in the air. all republican contenders. who sis obama and the people around him most afraid of? we've been trying to get to this question. we're going to nail it tonight. in the innermost secrets, when they put their head on the pillow at night, who do they fear? you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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southern voters will be key, of course, for who the
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republicans pick for their nominee next year. right now, overwhelmingly for mike huckabee, the guy we've been talking about tonight, who's sucking up to the birthers right now. the former arkansas governor takes 22% of probable republican primary voters in 11 states across the south. gingrich is second at 13%. three northerners round out the field. palin is third at 9%. palin does not do well in these polls. we'll be right back. a beautiful steering wheel is great. but only if the dash it's attached to is equally beautiful. so we made sure it was. but what's the point of a beautiful dash if the seats aren't beautiful, too? so we made sure they were. but we couldn't stop there, so we kept going and going.
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we're america's natural gas. the smarter power today. learn more at anga.us. hey what's going on? doing the shipping. man, it would be a lot easier if we didn't have to weigh 'em all. if those boxes are under 70 lbs. you don't have to weigh 'em. with these priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service, if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. no weigh? nope. no way. yeah. no weigh? sure. no way! uh-uh. no way. yes way, no weigh. priority mail flat rate shipping starts at just $4.95, only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship. we're back. we're now in the third month of 2011 and no major candidates have tossed their hats in the ring to run for president.
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some have even decided to not to run to the chagrin of bill kristol. >> i'm getting tired of the quotes about how tough obama would be. you know, i don't think they asked our soldiers or marines if they prefer to deploy to afghanistan, and these really kind of important for the country. >> but i think that some republicans do have a shot to go on and be a tough race for the president. take a look at the new nbc/"wall street journal" post tonight. who might be his easiest opponent? sam stein is the white house correspondent for the huffington post and clarence pace, i'm going right for you, my friend. all these years we worked together. you're with the chicago tribune out there, have the close eye
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and ear out there like axelrod and the president, valley, all those people. who do they fear might be the republican nominee against them? >> i think they mostly fear the ones who aren't running or say they aren't -- chris christie, jeb bush. mitt romney, if he can survive the primaries would certainly pose a challenge, because this battle is all about the middle, winning those swing voters out there in the middle. those aren't the candidates who are running the party's base right now. but i do caution, though, i think four years years ago we were saying the election was going to be between hillary clinton and rudi guilliani. that didn't happen either. i am leaving my options open. >> you're getting more like jack huron every year. older you get, my friend, the more you get afraid. you people take these polls so seriously. it is all we got. sam stein, maybe you can belly up and make your bet. who are they afraid of, who do they fear in the white house
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inner circles? >> clairens is right. some are very afraid of john thune. thought he presented -- >> ain't running. >> that's the point. there is no one out there they are directly fearful. as remaining candidates, huckabee. he has shown he can appeal to moderate voters. he praised the first lady on anti-obesity campaign. but then yesterday he has this rhetorical gaft. >> he got into the mud. the whole history. this kid grew up in kenya was under the control of his grandfather and father, and just was rooting against the brits, hating the brits, he built a whole story line about this. turns out barack obama was never in kenya his whole growing up. >> my whole point. >> then he made a story, i thought i meant -- he said i
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meant to say indonesia. he just made this up. but why is he in the mud pile with the birthers? that serious a candidate. >> that's my point. he was at a christian science monitor event about a week ago and i asked him this after the event. i said you're on fox news a lot, doing radio a lot, is that a way to rch conservative voters. he said it is a double edged sword, he could slip up any time and people could jump on him. he proved it yesterday. >> why play in the slop pile? why is he playing with the people that are stupid or racist? >> i wish i knew. i think he is careless, likes the appeal to the conservative base. >> they are starting to fire at people at fox, trying to double dip, go both ways. newt and santorum. how many times has he been
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married, you can't wipe the board clean and say that wasn't me that got kicked out of the speakership for embarrassing the country with ethics and his personal life. how can he walk back in and say that wasn't me? >> this is his time to run though. the party's basis fired up. he's always been probably the leading fund-raiser out there, at least before sarah palin came along. he has a good shot at winning the inauguration. >> has that crazy grin. look at this. >> we in the media love newt. he is a sound bite machine. and he is very affable. he says what's on his mind, which we in the media love. there is not a media primary out there, but he'd win it. >> do you think this guy, his presentation is a little to frightening for people to be a presidential candidate?
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don't you have to like the guy first before you vote for them? >> yeah. listen, theoretically i can see a path for it to work in a conservative based primary, he is loved at the cpac conventions, comes in with the eye of the tiger theme music blaring and walks through the crowd and people eat it up and he is a great showman. the problem is the election isn't decided in the republican primary. these are people that are not new creatures. him and haley barbour. that doesn't necessarily lend itself favorably to the tea party crowd which just as much as they hate obama want to wipe the slate clean from the bush years, too. >> this guy loves the attack. he gets a thrill out of going for the opponent's midsection, and hitting him so hard, getting delight in the attack itself. is that a winning proposition for a presidential candidate? clarence, last word, yes or no. >> before pac dogs became cool,
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i don't think that helps him in the general. as far as the primary goes, trying to get ahead of the pack, it could help him. >> got to go. thank you. when we return, let me finish with mike huckabee and a dangerous chorus of birthers on the right spreading lies about the president. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] from jet engines that have fewer emissions, to new ways to charge electric cars, to renewable sources of clean energy, ecomagination from ge is advanced technology that's good for both the economy and the environment. ♪ it's technology that makes the world work. [ squawking ] ♪
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this potentially dangerous talk in american politics. it comes i suppose from a mix of belief and pure politics. consider seriously what mike huckabee has been saying. the other day he was on a radio program and followed up a challenge to barack obama's identity by adding his own charges. what he did was repeat something newt gingrich said in september about the president looking at the world from his father's perspective as a kenyan living under british colognism. huckabee said he finds it troublesome because of obama's quote having grown up in kenya is different from american. his perspective growing up with a kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the mau mau revolution is very different than ours. this story, this narrative that mike huckabee is preaching is the kind of afri

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